Game publisher Riot Games has announced that it will self-publish League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics in Southeast Asia in 2023, ending its partnership with game developer Garena.
The decision will largely affect the games’ SEA player bases, however the announcement will also impact the League of Legends ecosystem in Southeast Asia. Riot Games will take over the ownership and operations of the Vietnam Championship Series (VCS). The Pacific Championship Series remains unaffected as it was already owned and run by Riot Games.
Since 2018, the VCS has been the top division for League of Legends esports in Vietnam. Most recently, the competition was won by GAM Esports, with the organisation competing at the 2022 World Championships as a result. Prior to the announcement, the VCS was jointly run by Riot Games and Garana.
In the announcement, Riot Games claimed the decision will boost SEA’s esports ecosystem. The publisher stated: “This transition will help provide League pro teams and fans with the most exciting and entertaining esports experience possible. We will share more information about esports in the future.”
Riot Games awarded League of Legends publishing rights to Garana in 2010, when the game first launched in Southeast Asia. The company later gained publishing rights to Teamfight Tactics.
According to an announcement by Riot Games, the decision will allow the company to expand its SEA footprint. It revealed it is in the process of establishing new local offices in ‘key’ countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The League of Legends developer has been self-publishing VALORANT, Legends of Runeterra, and Wild Rift in SEA since the games were launched.
Alongside its SEA partnership with Riot Games, Garana is also known as the developer of popular mobile esports title Free Fire.
Garana’s partnership with Riot Games will formally end in January 2023. SEA League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics players will need to transition their accounts from Garena to Riot Games as a result of the decision.